ALTCS Has Flexibility For Caregivers

In case you missed our latest Arizona Republic article in the weekly Seniors and the Law Column, it is written below. Our column runs every Saturday in select Arizona cities.

Seniors and the Law is authored by the attorneys at JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law and addresses legal issues that arise for the elderly and their families.  Questions can be sent to firm@jacksonwhitelaw.com.

Q: I have been caring for my wife in the home now for several months, and I understand that ALTCS sometimes pays caregivers for providing in-home care.  If my wife qualifies for ALTCS, will ALTCS compensate me for caring for her?

ALTCS coverage includes home and community based services.  This means that the ALTCS benefit extends not only to those in skilled nursing facilities, but also to those in assisted living facilities, group homes, and even to those receiving care in their own home.  More often than not, ALTCS members receiving care in the home recruit the services of a professional caregiving agency.  However, ALTCS policy is relatively flexible in comparison to other state programs, and it allows spouses to act as paid caregivers.

In order for a spouse to act as a paid caregiver, that spouse must meet certain requirements.  For instance, the spouse must meet the training and provider qualifications that apply to other registered care providers.  The ALTCS program contractor, who is very much like a case manager, can advise spouses on how to satisfy these requirements.  Once the program contractor is satisfied that the spouse is trained and qualified, that spouse can begin acting as a paid caregiver.

ALTCS policy provides that paid caregivers shall not be paid for more than 40 hours of service in a seven-day period.  However, ALTCS typically approves about 30 hours per week, at a rate of about $12 per hour.  In addition to compensation for caregiving, ALTCS provides coverage for respite care, so caregiver spouses have access to professionals who will care for the ALTCS member if the caregiver spouse has to leave the home for a period of time.  Also, if the ALTCS member’s needs evolve, and he or she later moves into a care home, coverage will remain in effect.

Richard White is an elder law attorney at JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law.  For more information on Elder Law at JacksonWhite, please  call 480-818-6912.

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